Today we are excited to announce that we have raised a new $150MM fund. Once again it is focused exclusively on mobile computing. This is our second mobile fund and our 8th overall, bringing total capital raised to just over $800MM. In 2008 we launched the first dedicated mobile computing venture capital fund. Although named BlackBerry Partners Fund, it was an independently managed, platform agnostic fund. We are now one of the most active investors in mobile computing with over 32 investments, six of which have been acquired.
While most VCs are generalists, we remain the only fund with a singular focus on mobile computing. Since we launched, mobile computing has been embraced and adopted faster and more significantly than anyone forecast. According to industry research:
- smartphone shipments exceeded PC shipments for the first time in 2011;
- mobile Internet use is projected to exceed desktop Internet use by 2014; and,
- there will more than 24 billion connected devices in use by 2020.
We were fortunate to be able to raise the fund relatively quickly and about a year earlier than anticipated. In an environment that has proven difficult for VC fund raising, our strategy of specialization and focus on mobile computing was well received by our LPs, most of which have returned for this fund.
Our new fund has been raised from some of Canada’s largest institutional and corporate investors. The Fund’s lead investor is Northleaf Capital Partners. Northleaf is Canada’s largest independent global private markets manager and advisor, with over $3.7 billion in commitments under management on behalf of public and corporate pension plans, university endowments, financial institutions and family offices.
We are also pleased to have Corus Entertainment as a new corporate LP. Corus is one of Canada’s most successful integrated media and entertainment companies. They own radio stations, television content and one of the world’s leading children’s and animated content developers, Nelvana. In keeping with our unique approach to partnering with corporate investors, we look forward to working with Corus on mobile start-ups in the entertainment and media space. For entrepreneurs active in this area, Corus will be a great sounding board and potential early customer and partner.
Our original corporate LPs, including Thomson Reuters and Research In Motion, continue to be investors and important partners in our new fund.
We believe mobile computing is enabling a fundamental transformation of incumbent industries. The triple play of devices (smartphones & tablets), sensors and the cloud enables anytime, anywhere computing on a scale we have never seen before.
We are excited to continue our exclusive focus on mobile software and working with entrepreneurs building the next great mobile companies.